The super typhoon Yutu is now moving away from the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific after becoming the strongest typhoon the US over Saipan and Tinian
Yutu's eyewall has now pushed west of the islands of Saipan and Tinian in the US Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. Yutu could arrive next week in the Philippines, Taiwan or southern Japan.
At the moment, maximum sustained winds remain tight in category 5 intensity near 175 mph, according to the latest recommendation of the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
At NASA Saipan International Airport, the winds reached a speed of 103 mph before the wind data stopped sending as the eyewall moved. Some gusts over 50 miles per hour were measured on Guam along with rainbands.
The typhoon warnings for the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota continue, and a tropical storm warning remains in force for the northern islands of Alamagan, Pagan and Agrihan.
Yutu is gradually weakening as it moves west-northwest into the Philippine Sea but will remain a strong category 3 or 4 typhoon until at least Monday.
Gusty winds will whip Saipan, Tinian and Rota until late Thursday morning local time. Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are 14 hours ahead of the US EDT.
Flooding of 5 or more feet over normal dry soil is still possible, but will subside until Thursday. High waves of surf and currents will be felt throughout the Marianas at least until Thursday night when Yutu moves away.
An additional 2 to 5 inches of rainfall is possible until Thursday evening.
This rainfall is likely to trigger dangerous flooding and dangerous landslides in higher terrain. A flood watch was issued on the island until late at night on Thursday.
Next week, Yutu could eventually pose a threat to the northern Philippines, Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.
It is still too early to be sure if Yutu will hit any of these places or if it just curls northeast towards the sea. Check weather.com for updates in the coming days when the forecast comes into focus.
Yutu is the strongest supertaifun that passes through NOAA's historical database near Saipan and Tinian.
Prior to Yutu, only three other Category 5 supertaifunas had passed within 75 miles of the islands.
The last category 5 supertaifun was 2004 Chaba.
Yutu intensified from Category 1 to Category 5 Super Typhoon in the 24 hours to 4 pm Wednesday, local time. [Yesterday] Yutu's intense visual wall was clearly visible on Thursday at the National Weather Service Doppler Radar at Guam's Andersen Air Force Base before radar stopped transmitting data. There were numerous lightning strikes within Yutu's eyewall, indicating an intense tropical cyclone.
Yutu was the strongest cyclone that hit the United States in 2018.